It sounds like these High Schools were designed for the economy of the time. How much thought went into the design of these high schools? Asked Gersh:
Linda responded: The factory model high school as we now call it was designed in about 1910 or 1920. The idea of that comprehensive high school was to cream off about 5% of the kids for specialized knowledge work. They would go off to college and fill the very small number of jobs that required that kind of thinking. The rest of the kids were supposed to be prepared for the farm, the factory, the mills – for you know, fairly rote kinds of learning. And over time vocational programs were put in place and other kinds of general programs.
The notion of these schools was that they were to select and sort kids, decide who was going to go where in the economy. Most of the work was not going to be thinking work. And we were going to crank them out on this assembly line process.
To read all other questions and see how this accompasses to actual reform, click here.
Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments, subscribe in a reader or send an email to the author at firstname.lastname@example.org . You can share ideas for stories on the Education & Tech.